Looking at the Recipe Box

I am my mother. I never thought in a million years that I’d come to that conclusion but here we are. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been sorting through my recipe boxes. Yes, I have two stuffed to the bursting point boxes of recipes. Some of the recipes date back to B.C. (before children) or even pre-B.C. (before Betty Crocker)! It has been my mission to wade through the contents and toss any that are horrible. Now I have to confess that a good portion of these were part of a 9th grade Home Economics project that involved collecting recipes and putting them into a card box. I was not selective. It was one of those boring and in my 9th grade mind pointless activities. I did exactly what was required to receive an A. Thus I have in this file a couple of recipes that I will never in 10,000 years ever make or eat if someone else makes. The funny thing is that my mother gave me a fist full of newspaper clippings and recipes that she had collected and never used for this… so we have 2 generations of dishes that no one wants to eat.

Curried carrots
Pickled tongue
Creamed turnips
Iā€™ve come undone
Barbecue hotdogs
Celery jello
Asparagus flan
Iā€™ll just say no!
Green olive soup
Fennel bread
Vinegar pie
Iā€™m better off dead

I hope you enjoyed the list poem (with a touch of rhyme), I’ve tossed the above recipes. The asparagus flan was a weird and disgusting recipe. Just imagine for a moment making a fruit flan but substituting asparagus in place of apricots. Yeah, there is no point in keeping that one! I did however keep the recipe for “Cherry Fluff” that my Grandma Tena gave me. She went through a phase in the late 1970s when she made and served this dessert at every get together. I’m not sure why but it was a favorite, however I usually make it with black cherry jello.

Pink Fluff
1 large package of cherry jello
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can fruit cocktail drained well
16 oz. cool whip
1 c. chopped pecans

Mix together pie filling, jello, and fruit cocktail. Fold in cool whip until it is a uniform pink. Refrigerate. Sprinkle nuts on top and serve well chilled.

35 thoughts on “Looking at the Recipe Box

    1. I had the first inkling I was turning into my mother when I was just married and having dinner out. It was at that moment that my husband and I turned to each other and in a “jinx” moment commented that we couldn’t believe that people were not dressed up to eat at such a high class establishment. And so it began. Thirty-six years later I’m willing to own it!


  1. No family reunion potluck is considered authentic without at least a couple of dishes that include things embedded in Jell-o. And of course, a couple of ground beef and macaroni dishes, later marketed by Kraft Foods in a box labeled Hamburger Helper, are mandatory too.


    1. Around here it isn’t the hamburger helper thing but macaroni salads. If you like to risk your life, come to a summer potluck and sample all the mayonnaise laden pasta salads!!


  2. LMAO! Your poem is great fun and reminds me of some of the horrible food my mother made (Minnesota Lutheran church lady cuisine.) Despite her M.O. of occasionally weaponizing dinner, I miss her.


    1. Hehe! I guess there isn’t much difference between MN Lutheran Church lady cuisine and Indiana Lutheran Church lady cuisine!! My husband’s parents are from Minnesota only Catholic. I suspect there is quite a bit of overlap in the hotdish category… This made me laugh and then feel guilty. I love the visual of weaponized dinner but I’m sad she is no longer with you.


    1. Hehe! I suppose the 1950s saw a plethora of oddly named dishes – Tube steaks (hotdogs), white water steak (liver), and the ever present mishmash labeled Surprise as a suffix such as tuna surprise or under the sea surprise… Some of those should have been titled “I’m better off dead”!!

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  3. Love this post. I have my mom’s recipe box as well, it was the treasure I got after she died, and in it I discovered a bunch of recipes that I had written from my home economics class in high school, a class I hated because I had already been cooking for years at home and they had us make really simple stuff like hot chocolate! I found that recipe, and it is a treasure also because every time I come upon it, I have to laugh a little. They are all treasures because they are part of our history, and don’t really take up that much space….


    1. Thanks for the comment Dorothy! I have several recipes that cause me to chuckle too. My mother had a Betty Crocker Recipe Book that was falling apart that my sisters and I looked over when she had to downsize. We were laughing so hard we shed tears. I also have a WWII cook book that my grandmother wrote commentary on the recipes – things like “Yuck! Don’t use this one!” and several with large Xs that state “NO GOOD”. The one for mock apple pie has the note – “Use more cinnamon”. It is a treasure!

      Liked by 1 person

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